Muguruza battles to win first title since 2019

Beaten in two finals already in 2021, Garbine Muguruza made it third time lucky as she won her eighth career title.

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It’s been a long time in coming but two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza is a singles winner again.

The Spaniard was pushed almost to the limit by former doubles world No 1 Barbora Krejcikova but just about clambered over the line to win the Dubai Duty Free Championships with a 7-6, 6-3 victory, giving her the eighth title of her career and her first since 2019. She’s now won 18 matches in 2021, more than anyone on the WTA Tour.

“Today finally I got the champions trophy, very happy to get the trophy after losing a few finals in a row,” Muguruza said. “I was close the other weeks but today, I fought harder, I’m very happy about it.”

Beaten in the final of the Yarra Valley Classic in Melbourne in February, in Doha last week and in the final of the Australian Open in 2020, the former Wimbledon and Roland-Garros champion needed all her experience – and patience – to get the win.

Garbine Muguruza Dubai 2021

Tight first set

World No 63 Krejcikova, better known for her exploits in doubles as a four-time Grand Slam winner (including two in mixed), has focused on singles of late and the Czech caused Muguruza all sorts of problems with her sweet timing on her groundstrokes.

Muguruza led 4-2 in the opening set but was pegged back and then had to come from 5-3 down in the tiebreak, saving one set point before taking it 8-6 after 65 minutes.

Bathroom break

Time was also an issue after the first set when Krejcikova took an 11-minute bathroom break, much to her opponent’s annoyance, at the end of the first set.

But Muguruza maintained her focus and after breaking for 4-2, this time she held on for a victory which should lift her to No 13 in the world rankings, while Krejcikova will climb to a career-high No 37.

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